• President Signs Sweeping Food Safety Reform
  • January 6, 2011
  • Law Firm: Alston Bird LLP - Atlanta Office
  • On November 30, 2010, the U.S. Senate passed S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, by a vote of 73 to 25. However, following passage in the Senate, a procedural issue arose among House leaders who highlighted that the bill violated a constitutional provision requiring that tax (or revenue-raising) provisions originate in the House. Due to the reinspection and recall fee related provisions of the Senate bill, the legislation temporarily reached a halt, preventing the House from being able to vote on passage of S. 510. As a result, the House attached the text of the Senate bill to a continuing resolution bill that it subsequently passed, and food safety reform appeared to be back on track for passage. The food safety bill would encounter a few more hurdles until passage by the U.S. Senate on December 19 of H.R. 2751, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (the “Act”). The President signed this bill into law on January 4. The final law breaks down into four titles: Title I: Improving Capacity to Prevent Food Safety Problems; Title II: Improving Capacity to Detect and Respond to Food Safety Problems; Title III: Improving the Safety of Imported Food; and Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions (e.g., funding, jurisdiction, international agreements, whistleblower protections for employees reporting suspected violations of the FFDCA and FDA regulations or refusing to participate in activities they believe are in violation of the FFDCA or FDA regulations, etc.). The establishment registration fees of the House version of the bill and the bisphenol A ban that Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) had proposed to include in the Senate bill did not make it into the final legislation. The first three titles of the Act have the greatest impact on registered food establishments.